Golden Eagles – The Top Sky Predators of the West

Golden eagles are an amazing predator with a wing span that can stretch over six feet. The females are larger, this is true with most birds of prey. A female can weigh anywhere from eleven to fourteen pounds, this doesn’t sound like a lot but fourteen pounds for a bird that can fly with ease is a lot of weight. The golden eagle gets its name from the golden feathers on the back of their neck. These birds are found throughout the world, in North America they are mainly found in the west. There are thirty-six different species of eagles in the world, but only two found in North America, the bald eagle and the golden eagle.

The golden eagle is in my opinion one of the world’s most amazing aerial predators and by far the most powerful in North America. Their eyesight is 9 times better than humans and have been clocked at speeds of over 120 miles per hour and pilots have reported them as high as 20,000 feet in altitude. Their prey mainly consists of rabbits, although I have watched them kill many sage grouse while spending time in Wyoming. When the rabbit cycle is down they have been documented of killing prey as large as prong horn and mule deer. skywings

The male and female have been known to establish a bond with each other and stay with each other throughout the entire year. They will learn to hunt together as a team, and when they do this they truly are a predator to be reckoned with.

Because of these bird’s power people use to be afraid that eagles would eat their young children, this may sound funny, but true. These birds were persecuted because of this and with farmers using DDT on their crops, which killed of many birds (bald eagle, peregrine falcon, white pelican, osprey, etc…) the golden eagle population declined. These birds are not a threat to people and will not stay in an area where there is a large amount of people. I have hiked up to view golden eagle’s nests that I know of and as soon as I came around, the parents would actually leave. Many hawks and falcons will stay near by and dive bomb you. I thought this was actually intelligent for these birds to leave because it makes a nest much harder to find. affluentwords

With each talon a golden eagle can apply hundreds of pounds of pressure. It is amazing how powerful a 12 to 13 pound animal can be. I have handled golden eagles for a long time and cannot even describe the strength of their feet when they apply full on pressure. The golden eagle is truly an amazing and respected predator. Blogline


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